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Winter Time Asthma: Actions you can take.

During the winter, several irritants can trigger asthma.  We know what they are: cold air, exercise and smoke.  See previous blog at So what can a person do?

Cold Air:  Since relocating to a warmer climate may not be the most practical solution.  Here are some ideas to decrease inhaling that cold, dry air without putting a damper on winter sports or activities.

  • Pull that scarf up and over your nose.
  • Purchase a cold air mask such as those used by skiers, snowmobilers and hunters.  The Cold Air Avenger mask heats and humidifies the air.  Go to for more information.


Treatment success for exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) is more difficult in very cold, dry temperatures compared to summer time.

  • Warm up and cool down in the same temperatures that you will be exercising in
  • 15 minutes before exercising, taking the quick-relief medication such as ProAir®, Ventolin® or Proventil® may prevent EIB symptoms for up to 3-4 hours as well as be used for relief of symptoms if they do occur.
  • Long-Acting bronchodilator: these inhaled medications (formoterol, salmeterol) can prevent EIB symptoms for up to 10 hours.  Generally they are used in combination with inhaled steroid medications available as Dulera®, Symbicort® and Advair®.
  • Montelukast: known commonly by its brand name Singulair®, this once daily tablet can prevent EIB for up to 8-10 hours within 30 minutes of taking it.
  • Cromolyn:  This very safe medication used to be used before exercise to block EIB, but the inhaler was removed from the market and now it is only available for asthma patients in the nebulized formulation.


  • To help reduce smoke, burn dry wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least 6 months.
  • Have your stove and chimney inspected every year by a certified professional to make sure there are no gaps, cracks, unwanted drafts and to remove dangerous creosote build-up.
  • If possible, replace your old wood stove with a new, cleaner heating appliance. Newer wood stoves are at least 50% more efficient and pollute 70% less than older models. This can help make your home healthier and safer and help cut fuel costs.  For more information, go to

Keep the fun in winter. Be action-oriented and prevention-minded!

This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.

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